Advanced Literature 2010
Response to Lady Macbeth's Soliloquy
In this soliloquy, Lady Macbeth is seen to plot Duncan's death, and it is implied that she would stop at nothing to assist her husband in acquiring the throne, and that she was willing to succumb to unscrupulous means and turn malevolent if it was what it took to succeed.
This soliloquy creates a tense atmosphere. At that point of time, Lady Macbeth is seen plotting to vanquish Duncan for her husband to gain access to the throne. She speaks, "The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements." This line connotes Lady Macbeth's intention to harm Duncan (as seen from "fatal entrance") - even murder him - in order to seize the crown. It sparks worry and anxiety in readers, for there is a sense of foreboding - Duncan's life was now in danger, being targeted by a vindictive Lady Macbeth who, in her soliloquy, evidently covets the crown and swore to be indomitable and inexorable in obtaining the crown. The audience becomes anxious of Duncan's predicament; he was about to perish yet remained unbeknownst to it.
This soliloquy also creates fear. Lady Macbeth solicited the removal of her human instinct and human nature to be kind, remorseful or compassionate in order to not hinder her schemes - "fill me […] of direst cruelty […] stop th' access and passage to remorse […] no compunctious visitings of nature shake my fell purpose nor keep peace between th' effect and it". It is also evident that she wished to turn completely inhuman (literally and figuratively) - "unsex me here […] make thick my blood […] come to my woman's breasts and take my milk for gall". She asks to be unsexed (removed of her gender as a female) so that the proverbial `soft spot' in her woman's nature does not hamper her endeavour to seize the crown for Macbeth; she asks for her blood to be thickened, to give her "courage" and audacity to carry out her deadly plans; she asks devils (as seen from "murdering ministers") to turn her breast milk (a sign of a caring, motherly figure and womanhood) into poison, denoting her intent to become heartless and unfeeling, thus accentuating the extent of depravity she is capable of. The audience, at this point, would be alarmed by her abnormal desire to do so, and it sparks fear. Lady Macbeth's desire to be a being - monster, in fact - incapable of feeling like a human is very much foreign to the audience.
Moreover, Lady Macbeth also wishes that her "keen knife see not the wound it makes", meaning that she yearns to kill without feeling pity, sympathy or remorse at her sins. Lady Macbeth wishes to turn into an abominable, detestable and monstrous person to perform evil deeds, and she asks not to feel regret or guilt while committing to her plans. In Line 11, she seeks and tries to garner the espousal and...